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The Capitol Trees

Posted - Sep. 10, 2004 at 9:31 a.m.



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To look at the barren State Capitol grounds brings back thoughts of 1999 when a tornado ripped through and uprooted, severed and otherwise mangled, hundreds of beautiful, mature trees. Contractors now have finished what Mother Nature began.

Those in charge of the Capitol’s $200 million seismic renovation say there’s good reason for removing the trees. Some were diseased and dying anyway, we’re told. Some were in the way of excavators who are digging around the building. And some, fortunately, have been transplanted to other areas.

It’s just that it happened so quickly and quietly, without informing the public!

It took but hours to undo decades, even generations of slow, sustained growth. Seedlings planted by earlier Utahns had become part of the state’s maturing stature. With their natural beauty, the trees generated feelings of seclusion and peace, and offered shade to all who happened by. Now they’re gone.

“If a tree dies, plant another in its place,” was the wise counsel of an 18th century naturalist. That, we’re told, is the plan. In fact, 264 cherry trees and another hundred of other varieties will be planted as the Capitol restoration proceeds.

As much as we lament the removal of the Capitol trees, KSL looks forward to the day the restoration project is complete and hundreds of new trees begin taking root.

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